Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, necessary for human health. Omega-6 fatty acids can’t be made by human body. We have to obtain them from food. Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids work in pair, playing a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. Omega-6 fatty acids are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids 多元不飽和脂肪酸 (PUFAs), helping to stimulate skin and hair growth, to maintain bone health, to regulate metabolism, and to maintain the reproductive system.
A healthy diet should contain a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reducing inflammation. But some omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. In fact, some studies suggest that elevated intakes of omega-6 fatty acids may play a role in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome 複雜性區域疼痛綜合症. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
There are several different types of omega-6 fatty acids, not all promoting inflammation. Most omega-6 fatty acids in the diet come from vegetable oils, such as linoleic acid 亞油酸 (LA). Linoleic acid is first converted to gamma-linolenic acid γ-亞麻酸 (GLA) in human body and then further broken down to arachidonic acid 花生四烯酸 (AA). In diet GLA is found in several plant based oils, including evening primrose oil 月見草油 (EPO), borage oil 琉璃苣油, and black currant seed oil 黑加侖籽油.
GLA may actually reduce inflammation. With enough of certain nutrients in human body (including magnesium, zinc, and vitamins C, B3, and B6) helps promoting the conversion of GLA to DGLA (Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid).
Omega-6 fatty acids are useful for following health conditions:
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder 注意力缺陷/多動障礙(ADHD)
- Eczema 濕疹
- Diabetic neuropathy 糖尿病性神經障礙
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Mastalgia 乳腺痛
- Menopausal symptoms 更年期症狀
- Multiple Sclerosis 多發性硬化症
- Osteoporosis 骨質疏鬆
- Premenstrual syndrome 經前綜合症 (PMS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis 類風濕關節炎
Balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
Balancing these 2 omega fatty acids can have very positive health effects. For general health, the ratio should be in the range of 2:1 – 4:1, omega-6 to omega-3 — and some health educators advocate even lower ratios. Overabundance of omega 6 fatty acids causes excess inflammation in the body and, according to the Center of Genetics, a rise in cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Increasing omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to decrease risks of heart disease, excessive inflammation and arthritis.